29 Jan 2013

Solomons teachers stand firm on strike despite dispute panel order

9:44 pm on 29 January 2013

The Solomon Islands National Teachers Association says it's standing firm on its strike action despite the Trade Dispute Panel ordering that teachers go back on the job or face prosecution.

More than 9,000 teachers have been striking over the government's failure to include promised back-pay and salary rises in the budget and to provide a timeline for when teachers will get their arrears.

The Panel ordered the Association to remove its strike notice by 4:30pm local time, Tuesday afternoon.

The president of the Association, Samson Faisi, says union members rejected this order, refusing to call off the strike.

He says he then told the teachers to prepare for possible arrest.

"I have challenged them, I said if you would like to take this action further and you defy the trade dispute panel order and you would like to be arrested like me, then you come. We have also placed the appeal for our lawyer to put across that this is a nationwide strike it should supposed to be a nationwide arrest of all members of SINTA across the country. We would like to see that the government do that, and lets see how the international community will respond to their stubborness, government stubbornness."

Samson Faisi says that as of early evening, teachers were still waiting to be arrested.